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200 North Main St | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

Collection Description

G.A. Ensenberger and Sons had become a successful retail furniture store in Bloomington.  Although the founder died in 1917, sons Frank, Gus and Joseph were managing the business and eventually decided to replace their current building with a new and more impressive one.  In 1925-1926, they replaced their building at 212-214 N. Center Street with a modern English Gothic structure.  The A.L. Pillsbury firm designed the building which cost about $250,000-300,000.  Its gothic spires, colorful terra-cotta medallions, and ornate indoor decorations made the new seven-story Ensenberger building quite unlike anything else in the community.  It opened May 11, 1926, and an estimated 40,000 people, some from as far away as California and New York, visited the store during the first five days. Changing customer expectations led to the store’s closing in November 1995.

Around 2008, the structure, including the original 1910 building plus the seven-story addition from 1926, was re-opened as a residential condo complex with retail space on the first floor.

The collection includes Pillsbury’s spec sheets, construction and loan contracts, etc. from 1925-26 plus an article concerning the architecture of the finished building.


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